No Ticfa until difference of opinion ends: Quayes
Bangladesh will not sign the proposed Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (Ticfa) with the USA if any difference of opinion remains between the two countries, Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes said yesterday.
“We want to sign the agreement. But if there is any difference of opinion we cannot sign it,” Quayes said at the inauguration of a fair organised by Foreign Service Club Families at the state guesthouse Padma.
Bangladesh raised its objection to some issues of the draft of Ticfa and “we are hopeful to resume the talks as Washington has agreed to return to the negotiating table", he said.
Bangladesh and the US have been negotiating over signing the deal for the last four years, but they failed to do so as the two could not reach a consensus on labour standards issue.
Earlier, the secretary at a press conference in July said Bangladesh was not responsible for the stalemate over signing Ticfa. He said Bangladesh was always ready to discuss the issue.
Acting US Secretary of State William J Burns and Assistant US Trade Representative for South Asia Michael J Delaney in their meetings with Foreign Minister Dipu Moni on September 5 in Washington DC expressed their hope that the remaining issues surrounding Ticfa would be worked out soon.
Meanwhile, Quayes said Bangladesh and the US military would hold a dialogue in Hawaii soon to discuss cooperation.
Besides, the first Bangladesh-US Partnership Dialogue at foreign secretary level between Bangladesh and USA will be held on September 19-20 in Washington DC.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Dipu Moni on May 5 in Dhaka signed a deal to hold regular, annual consultations under a partnership dialogue.
The dialogue will be held at foreign secretary/under secretary of state level, including periodic consultations at foreign minister-secretary level.